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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - September 23, 2004

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Smarty Plants on mowing schedules
Answered by: Stephen Brueggerhoff

QUESTION:

What would be the ideal mowing schedule to allow for a spring and summer bloom of wildflowers? My neighborhood maintains it's own roadsides and has the opportunity to increase the number of wildflowers and control any mowing that would be done in these areas.

ANSWER:

As you have stated, when, where and how you mow will greatly affect the vegetation you have on your site. Depending on your growing season, maintenance mowing at around 6 to 8 inches in early Spring (say, mid to late February, again depending on your ecoregion), can be performed & not have a lasting detrimental impact on the species that are overwintering & actively growing toward bloom. Regarding Fall, we recommend mowing pastures and predominant grass occupied areas that may contain wildflowers after they have gone to seed to allow the plants to spread and return the following year. On average we advise folks to mow at a height of 6 to 8 inches, however, the mowing height is greatly dependent on the existing plant community and desired outcome.

The Wildflower Center offers consulting services to help landowners manage property. We specialize in savannas and wildflower meadows. If you are interested in our consulting services go to our Consulting webpage, or contact Steve Windhager, Director of Landscape Restoration, at 512-292-4200. If you live in the area, you can set up an appointment for "free" advice if you come to the Center and bring the necessary, photos, maps, plans etc.. to help us understand your project. Billing begins when our staff visit your property.

 

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